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How to Answer the AWOL Accusation

Posted on 09/09/2003 5:09:05 AM PDT by forktail

I keep reading/hearing about Bush's year of being AWOL from the Air National Guard. I can't find anything on the net that disputes this accusation.

Is there anything out there?


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: awol; bush43

1 posted on 09/09/2003 5:09:06 AM PDT by forktail
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To: forktail
The answer is "And this matters why?" There are plenty of real issues...
2 posted on 09/09/2003 5:11:12 AM PDT by ChadsDad (Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?)
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To: ChadsDad
Because I am tired of hearing it.
Because we are at war.
Because I'd like to be able to stuff something down their throats.
Because in '04 this, the "stolen election," the 16 words, the lack of WMDs and the rest will be a non-fucking-stop din
3 posted on 09/09/2003 5:14:31 AM PDT by forktail
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To: forktail
If this was true, do you really think the left media machine would have given him a pass for the last 4 years?

It would be repeated every day if true, especially after the carrier landing.
4 posted on 09/09/2003 5:14:59 AM PDT by At _War_With_Liberals (CNN lamented today, "Some American soldiers have even taken to calling some Iraqis' :HAJIS !")
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To: forktail
IF President Bush was AWOL, so what? He is present now and serving proudly.
5 posted on 09/09/2003 5:15:22 AM PDT by fortaydoos
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To: forktail
I'd be interested in an informed answer as well.
6 posted on 09/09/2003 5:20:03 AM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: fortaydoos
IF President Bush was AWOL, so what? He is present now and serving proudly.

So I assume you also supported Prez Clintoon dodging the draft?

I'm not saying Bush was AWOL, but if he was it is a serious issue. I don't think there's any records showing that he was AWOL, but how do you prove a negative? The argument is a no winner. Either they need to put up real proof, in which case why hasn't the left-wing media ran with it?

Or you can answer it like this? I have an article saying President Clinton is a pedophile! If you don't believe me prove that he's not a pedophile. See it can't be done so you dismiss the entire arugment because it's not substantiated.

7 posted on 09/09/2003 5:22:14 AM PDT by for-q-clinton (If at first you don't succeed keep on sucking until you do succeed)
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To: forktail
My understanding (I do not have a url to back this up) is that Bush did miss some scheduled drill weekend when he was in the Guard. However, the rules at the time allowed a Guardsman to make up the time, as long as they did it in the same quarter, which Bush did.

To my way of thinking, if that account is correct, that is not an unblemished record, but it is a far cry from AWOL.

8 posted on 09/09/2003 5:26:03 AM PDT by Brandon
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To: forktail
I am in the Guard now. Unless you have been put on active duty orders (very rare) it is almost impossible to go "AWOL" from the Guard. You are supposed to attend a drill weekend each month, but those are not always mandatory. As a pilot, things are a little more flexible because there are more pilots than jets in a unit, so not everyone can show up at the same time. It is left to the individual to ensure he is present enough to get his training done. You have a commitment to accomplish a certain amount of training, and the Guard will pay you as you show up to do it. If you don't show up, you don't get paid. Eventually, your unit will probably ask (then tell) you to leave. It's your loss.
9 posted on 09/09/2003 5:32:30 AM PDT by Rokke
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To: Brandon
I believe President Bush's honorable discharge was posted at one point to refute this claim. The point being that anyone who was actually officially AWOL would not have received an honorable discharge.

IIRC, a scan of the actual official discharge was posted here on FR. Perhaps some knowledgable FReeper could post a link.

IF this was actually true, does anyone think it wouldn't be all over the media 24/7/365? But it isn't. It is only found on the hate-filled anti-Bush sites and in rumors IRL.

Also, I seem to recall that the reason given for why he was absent was to work on a political campaign. I can't recall if he actually had or asked permission to be absent.
10 posted on 09/09/2003 5:33:29 AM PDT by reformedliberal
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To: forktail
My point is/was that this is the statement that you make to them: "Your entire question is irrelevent, I don't see how this could matter to the issues we face as a society today." Then look 'em right in the eye...and, quietly, calmly, tell them to "Shut The F### Up!"
11 posted on 09/09/2003 5:38:40 AM PDT by ChadsDad (Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?)
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To: reformedliberal
"The point being that anyone who was actually officially AWOL would not have received an honorable discharge."

Actually, plenty of people have been AWOL and received an honorable discharge. I think you are confusing AWOL which means absent without leave and desertion which means you leave with the intent of never returning. Penalties for AWOL are relatively mild, penalties for desertion have ranged from dishonorable discharge all the way to imprisonment and or execution.
12 posted on 09/09/2003 5:41:56 AM PDT by RipSawyer (Mercy on a pore boy lemme have a dollar bill!)
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To: forktail
just ask the questioner to substantiate the claim. They won't be able to. If you would like, ask why it is of such concern, because their buddy Clinton was actually convicted on federal charges of draft dodging, then pardoned by Carter.
13 posted on 09/09/2003 5:43:38 AM PDT by ctlpdad (In memory of my good friend Henry's daughter, lost 9/11/01)
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To: forktail
The Real Military Record of George W. Bush: Not Heroic, but Not AWOL, Either

Though this is a FreeRepublic thread, I actually found it through snopes.com, an excellent source for confirming or debunking information. I recommend bookmarking it ..... :-)

snopes.com

14 posted on 09/09/2003 5:51:41 AM PDT by kayak (I support Billybob - www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: reformedliberal; Brandon

The Real Military Record of George W. Bush Not Heroic, but Not AWOL, Either http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a39ea05224b3e.htm


15 posted on 09/09/2003 5:55:20 AM PDT by Wolverine (A Concerned Citizen)
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To: for-q-clinton
Clinton's not a pedophile?? Just Damn! Are you sure?
16 posted on 09/09/2003 5:58:10 AM PDT by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: Texas_Jarhead
The Real Military Record of George W. Bush Not Heroic, but Not AWOL, Either

See #15

17 posted on 09/09/2003 5:59:58 AM PDT by Wolverine (A Concerned Citizen)
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To: forktail
The claim:

From May 1, 1972 until April 30, 1973 -- a period of twelve months -- there are no days shown, though Bush should have logged at least thirty-six days service (a weekend per month in addition to two weeks at camp).

The truth:

In May of 1968 Mr. Bush enlisted and was chosen for training as an Air Force pilot. Critics have noted that he got into pilot training despite poor initial testing, suggesting that someone on the inside helped move him to the top of the list. The Globe interviewed National Guard officials who said it was because few National Guard enlistees were willing to commit to the required 18 months of flight training and that put them higher on the list.

In November of 1969, the future president completed flight training and was assigned to become an F-102 fighter pilot assigned to Ellington Air Force Base.

Until his fifth year of National Guard duty, there is no question about his service. The Globe says those who served with Mr. Bush regarded him as a top pilot and that he spent more time on active duty than was minimally required for reservists. In the first four years of of his six-year commitment, he spent the equivalent of 21 months on duty.

In May of 1972, George W. Bush moved to Alabama to help in a U.S. Senate campaign and requested permission to serve in a unit in that state. His superiors, however, later said they did not approve of that unit because it didn't do much. There were no drills or exercises. The unit's commander told the Boston Globe that it had no airplanes and essentially met one weeknight per month. The Globe says that months apparently went by without resolution to Mr. Bush's status and, therefore, no guard duty.

Technically, without new orders, he was still a part of his unit in Texas, but he was living in Alabama. Mr. Bush was eventually assigned to a unit in Montgomery, but two of the officers from the unit told the Boston Globe they do not recall his ever showing up. During that time, he failed to take his annual pilot's physical examination and was removed from flight status. A Bush spokesman told the Globe that Mr. Bush does recall doing some duty in Alabama.

On another occasion, a representative for the president said that Bush made up for any time that was lost by participating in other drills.

But his service records show about a year in which there is no report of duty.

From May to July of 1973, the records show that Mr. Bush did log 36 days of active duty. He was granted an honorable discharge in October of 1973.

Truth or Fiction

The 36 so- called "missing days" were logged between May and July of 1973, right before his HONORABLE discharge...so, yes, he did make up the time. Also, there is the fact that he spent more time on active duty than required during his first four years. Their claims are baseless.

18 posted on 09/09/2003 6:02:03 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: ctlpdad
Actually, snopes.com refutes that story, also.

"However, the timeline quoted above jumps the tracks when it labels Clinton a "felon," because none of his actions, no matter how unethical or morally reprehensible, were illegal."

(Read the link to see what 'timeline' is being referenced.)

19 posted on 09/09/2003 6:04:10 AM PDT by kayak (I support Billybob - www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: Texas_Jarhead
I believed it was pretty well covered in this story http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-5_15_01_TB2.html
20 posted on 09/09/2003 6:04:47 AM PDT by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: for-q-clinton
I don't think there's any records showing that he was AWOL, but how do you prove a negative?

In this case you can. His service records will show where and when he was in service, day by day. If you're present and on duty, you're not AWOL.

21 posted on 09/09/2003 6:11:12 AM PDT by templar
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To: forktail
More, and this is from the skeptics:

George magazine last week wrote a story alleging that Governor George W. Bush successfully completed his Texas Air National Guard duty for the years 1972-1973. The article contradicts one in TomPaine.com, written by Marty Heldt, and one by Robert Rogers on Democrats.com.

The George article states: "For more than a year, controversy about George W. Bush's Air National Guard record has bubbled through the press. Interest in the topic has spiked in recent days, as at least two websites have launched stories essentially calling Bush AWOL in 1972 and 1973. For example, in 'Finally, the Truth about Bush's Military Record' on TomPaine.com, Marty Heldt writes, 'Bush's long absence from the records comes to an end one week after he failed to comply with an order to attend 'Annual Active Duty Training' starting at the end of May 1973. ... Nothing indicates in the records that he ever made up the time he missed.'"

"Neither is correct," the article argues. "Bush may have received favorable treatment to get into the Guard, served irregularly after the spring of 1972 and got an expedited discharge, but he did accumulate the days of service required of him for his ultimate honorable discharge." Peter Keating, co-author of the George magazine story, explained to TomPaine.com that his team's conclusions centered on one document, called an ARF Statement of Points Earned. This is essentially an attendance document that tracks when an Air National Guardsman has served, and whether he has fulfilled his annual duty.

This document that George used is far from ideal, a fact that probably accounts for the failure of other journalists to reach the conclusions that Keating and his associates did. Among other flaws, the upper left portion is torn, removing the name of the soldier to whom it belongs, with the exception of the middle initial W. Also obliterated by the tear are the year and months of service, leaving only the date (for example, for service from 2000 Oct 15 to 2000 Oct 18, only the 18 would remain). But that's not to say that it should be ignored. After all, Bush's file contains documents detailing the days he served for every year except 1972-1973. There is no attendance document in his file that specifies that he didn't serve during the 1972-1973 year (though there are other documents that do so, as we will explain later). So this document needs to be considered as one that possibly fills that hole.

One of the key contributions the George story adds to the debate is that, through some clever interpretation of the few clues that exist on the torn document, it offers a seemingly strong argument that it must be for the missing year, 1972-1973.

This detective work has caused considerable confusion, but after speaking with Keating we feel it has merit, so we will attempt to elucidate it in the following paragraphs.

First, George matched dates of service on the document against May 1973 "special orders" calling Bush to appear for service. The three dates on the special orders not only correspond to dates on the torn attendance document, but appear in the right chronological order: we know that May was the last month in Bush's attendance reporting period, and the May special order dates appear at the end of the list of dates on the document, where they would be expected.

Second, George deduced that the fourth date on the document must have been January 10th. The tear on the document runs through the column where the month abbreviations should be. In this fourth row, before the number 10, is what appears to be an "N." This -- the only visible clue concerning the month that the service took place -- suggests that the month abbreviation for this date must be Jan or Jun. But, again, we know that Bush's service records are tracked using a calendar year that begins and ends in May. It is clear from the number sequence that, at the very least, two months have passed before the fourth date of service. Therefore, the fourth line could not be June; it must be January 10 -- if you assume the document is Bush's record.

By the same logic, the previous dates on the record could be January 6, December 14, and the first date on the record could be November 29th, a date that the Bush campaign has said (and the New York Times has confirmed) is one that he served. This is also consistent with the idea that he served no time before Election Day, while he was busy working on the Alabama campaign of W. Blount, a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

More at the link: Tom Paine

Basically, the documents are there showing he served his required time, so now they have created this whole new conspiracy that someone possibly doctored the documents, but, of course, they have no proof.

22 posted on 09/09/2003 6:29:25 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: for-q-clinton
"So I assume you also supported Prez Clintoon dodging the draft?"

IMO it is a mistake to ever compare Bush to Clinton because any argument in that regard is logically flawed. When one says something like, “did you care Clinton was a draft dodger?” the question implies that being a draft dodger was made acceptable by Clinton, so if Bush does it then that is fine also. Our strongest position is that there is no comparison between Bush and Clinton. The standard is back where it ought to be, with decency.

Now, that said. Tell them that the AWOL story is an internet rumor which can’t be proved because it is false. It is very difficult to prove a negative, but ask them to offer real evidence of the rumor’s validity and they won’t be able to.
23 posted on 09/09/2003 6:34:22 AM PDT by Theyknow
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: forktail
Another article from FR that came up in my search:

The Real Military Record of George W. Bush: Not Heroic, but Not AWOL, Either

There is even a letter from his Instructor, Colonel Thomas G. Lockhart in post #80, commending his service. Hope that helps!

25 posted on 09/09/2003 6:40:58 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: forktail
I keep reading/hearing about...

Stop reading and stop listening. Join a curling team.

26 posted on 09/09/2003 6:46:52 AM PDT by Consort
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To: Consort
I can't! A Socialist took my broom for someone who needed it more.
27 posted on 09/09/2003 6:51:22 AM PDT by forktail
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To: Brandon
Also, with the recordkeeping practices from that time period, its almost impossible to prove one way or another. The Air Force transferred thousands of personnel-related records to the National Archives about ten years ago, but the problem is, there are only three machines in existence that can read them, so they're kept I believe in Texas where one of the machines is located. During Vietnam huge amounts of records were lost when they were simply tossed off the ends of piers, like so many helicopters, jeeps, etc. were.

The attendance records for President Bush's unit may or may not be in existence. The laws governing these kinds of things are more strictly enforced now (especially since the Bureau of Indian Affairs fiasco under Babblin' Bruce Babbit's regime at Dept. of Interior), so records from a Guard unit back in the '60s could be sitting in some former CO's or company clerk's attic, or could have been lost, or they could have been burned in a fire like the one at the military's Personnel Records Center in St. Louis years ago.

28 posted on 09/09/2003 6:53:28 AM PDT by HenryLeeII
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To: ravingnutter
Also worth inclusion:

The Texas Air National Guard was phasing out the F-102 fighter that Bush qualified in. He would have been required to put in significant additional time to qualify to fly the replacement fighter jet, and would have incurred additional obligated service.

Because Bush was deciding to not make a career of flying for the Guard, he decided not to make the transition to the new jets - therefore there was no need to maintain a current flight physical ....

That scenario happens routinely. I have served in the Navy Reserves with pilots and NFOs who become obsolete as the Navy drops planes from inventory - most recently - the A-6 Intruder. In the near future - the F14 Tomcat.

Certainly the facts show that Bush's service in the Texas ANG was outstanding and honorable.

Mike

29 posted on 09/09/2003 7:10:55 AM PDT by Vineyard
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To: ravingnutter
Marked.

Thank you.
30 posted on 09/25/2003 12:30:17 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only support FR by donating monthly, but ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: forktail
Please prove he was AWOL and I'll tell you how to refute it.
31 posted on 09/25/2003 12:31:31 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: kayak
Snopes is very faulty when it comes to politics:

Online Rumor Mill Spins Its Own Myth(Snopes.com's leftwing bias undercuts its credibility)

32 posted on 09/25/2003 12:33:46 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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